Wallabies, Springboks still unable to break stalemate

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Two Tests against the Springboks in 2017 for two draws.

That's how things stand after the Wallabies squared off with the Springboks in Bloemfontein, neither team able to break a 10 minute stalemate at the end of the match, with the score poised at 27-all.

Though the Wallabies had their chances, Aussie fans were talking about a controversial missed forward pass with two minutes left, which would have given the Wallabies a scrum 40 out from the Boks line.

South Africa fullback Andries Coetzee threw a pass that appeared to be clearly forward with the Springboks on the attack and neither referee Ben O'Keeffe nor the touch judge picked it up.

Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies missed a late shot at goal from the ensuing break before the Wallabies got one final crack at the line, a Nick Phipps knock on sealing the draw.

The result will take some digesting but the Wallabies will take plenty from this one, particularly in their forward pack with Scott Sio, Adam Coleman and Michael Hooper were all brilliant up front, working tirelessly and providing the platform for Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale to prosper.

The playmaking pair had their blunders throughout the night but they were the men behind all of the Wallabies' points, with Marika Koroibete nabbing a well deserved double in a fantastic first start.

The opening exchanges set the tone for the entirety of the match, as the Springboks controlled possession while the Wallabies defended with aggression and poise.Ruan Dreyer scored the Springboks' first. Photo: Getty ImagesThey repelled repeated Springbok attacks and with their first territory, a scrum 22 out from the Boks line in the 12th minute, a superb set piece play put Israel Folau over.

It was the passes of Genia and Foley, along with the hard running decoy line from Tevita Kuridrani, that created the space for the flying fullback.

Beale spilled a high ball two minutes later and the Boks were back on the front foot, their huge tight five powering over Wallabies defenders en route to tighthead Ruan Dreyer's try, the Boks' onlyfirst-half five-pointer.

It took a terrific Hooper pilfer to stop the Boks going over again, the Australians duly working their way upfield and earning a penalty for Foley, putting the Wallabies in front before Jack Dempsey was penalised for a deliberate knock down, giving Jantjies a leveller.

The Wallabies then cost themselves two golden try-scoring opportunities, Foley kicking a ball dead from a penalty that would have given the Australians prime position, before Will Genia opted to kick in open play, rather than hang on to the pill.

His break was set up by some brilliant work from Beale, the inside centre intercepting the Boks as they threatened the Australian line before getting up and running a hard unders line to split the Boks open and put Genia in space.

The conversation at half-time, was Folau's hair pull on Dillyn Leyds, an action for which he was very lucky to stay on the field.Eben Etzebeth was one of the Springboks' best. Photo: Getty ImagesThat fired things up but the Wallabies took a 13-10 lead into the sheds, having repelled two lineouts from five out to stay in front.

The Boks flew out of the gates in the second half, flanker Siya Kolisi making a break down the right and brushing a poor Beale tackle to put Jan Serfontein in.

Foley then made up for some earlier errors with a brilliant run that sliced the line and put Koroibete away down the right hand side to put the Wallabies back in front, 20-17, before Courtnall Skosan hit back for the Boks, scoring the third try in 10 minutes to hand the home side a four-point lead.

It was the Foley-Koroibete combo that scored Australia's next, Foley finding the flying Fijian on the left wing with a slick cutout to mark the fourth lead change of the second term.

A crisp attacking set from the Wallabies then went unrewarded, Tevita Kuridrani falling metres short before the Boks forced a penalty, that ultimately gave Jantjies a chance to equalise.

Free State Stadium fell silent as Beale broke the line with five to play, setting the Australians up with territory.

But just as Sean McMahon looked as though he was going to score the ball was knocked free and the Boks had a scrum 10 out from their own line.

The missed forward pass and Jantjies shot at goal followed, leaving both teams unhappy as the final siren sounded.


Springboks 27

Tries: Dreyer, Serfontein, Skosan

Cons: Jantjies 3

Pens: Jantjies 2

Wallabies 27

Tries: Folau, Koroibete 2

Cons: Foley 3

Pens: Foley 2